Eyelid twitching

Originally Published: March 8, 1996 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: April 18, 2014
Share this
Dear Alice,

I am a twenty-four-year-old female, and I would consider myself to be a very anxious person (and have always been that way). For the past few months, I have been experiencing a problem with an eyelid spasm. It's always my right eye, and the lid flutters up and down a lot, sometimes lasting for a few days. It doesn't hurt, but is very annoying! I've had people tell me that it's due to stress and/or lack of sleep. Is this true, or could it be due to some kind of nerve damage? Should I go to an eye doctor?

Dear Reader,

Fatigue, stress, and caffeine are the most common causes of benign eyelid twitching, which is also known as myokymia. This fluttering doesn't always immediately follow tension-loaded periods or a poor night's sleep. Eyelid tremors can come and go, hang around for a while, and then disappear for weeks or years.

To help reduce the spasms, it's recommended that you concentrate on relaxing regularly and guaranteeing yourself the amount of nightly sleep that you need to properly function during the day. You can also try drinking less caffeine or lubricating your eyes with eye drops.

Take a look at the related Q&As listed below for more information about stress management and sleep for specific advice on how to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Consider trying out the suggestions mentioned in these answers. If you’re a student at Columbia, you can take advantage of relaxing back rubs offered by Stressbusters. If the spasms do not go away within a week, you have redness or swelling from the eye, twitching that involves other parts of your face or your upper eyelid is drooping, it’ll be a good idea to make an appointment with your health care provider. Columbia students can make an appointment with Medical Services (Morningside) or the Student Health Service (CUMC).

Here’s hoping your ailment resolves in the blink of an eye,

Alice